The Hawaii legislature has enacted policies in recent years to address postsecondary access and affordability, college and career preparation, and workforce development. While the educational attainment of the overall population is fairly high, the percentage of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders with postsecondary credentials is far lower. As such, state leaders should consider policies that aim to close these attainment gaps and that also encourage older adults to enroll in postsecondary certificate and degree programs. In addition, financial aid policies that promote postsecondary access could be structured to encourage degree completion.

While the state collects data on workforce demand and outcomes, it is unclear how the postsecondary community uses this information to promote particular programs of study. The legislature should consider how to collaborate more closely with the Board of Regents to align the high-demand fields with college and career pathways. Policymakers also should examine strategies to increase the incomes of more highly-educated citizens by attracting and strengthening industries geared toward this population, which also would boost overall economic growth.


  • Adults 25-64 with college degrees: 12th (42.9% vs. 38%)
  • High school graduates going directly to college: 29th (62.3%vs. 63.3%)
  • 18-24 year-olds enrolled in college: 36th (33.5% vs. 36.2%)
  • Credentials awarded per 1,000 18- to 44-year-olds with no college degree: 43rd (30.7% vs. 37.6%)
  • STEM credentials awarded per 1,000 STEM employees: 39th (44.4% vs. 54.4%)
  • Workers with college degrees earning low wages: 12th (21.5% vs. 22.9%)

For more information, please see the following documents: Hawaii Data Profile

Hawaii Data PowerPoint

The college attainment rate in Hawaii is relatively high, due in large part to the in-migration of college graduates from out of state. This high attainment rate masks equity gaps that exist between whites and minorities, especially Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. While the postsecondary system is relatively successful in producing degrees for its enrollees, the larger challenge is increasing participation rates. Because wages for college graduates are relatively low, there is a need to consider how postsecondary education can be linked to economic development.


  • Developing Student Data Systems: SB 2122 (2010)
  • Providing Online Delivery for College/Career Readiness: HB 2971 (2008)
  • Creating College/Career Pathways: SB 885 (2007)
  • Strengthening Dual Enrollment Programs: HB 767 (2007)
  • Leveraging Financial Aid Funds: SB 3120 (2006)

Boosting College Completion has produced a comprehensive 50-state legislative database related to college completion and workforce development. The database will grow as we continue to collect and analyze policies. Check out the BCC database for a more complete summary of Hawaii’s policies. Click on the Menu arrow for additional options, such as printing the summary.

Powered by Socrata



Boosting College Completion has developed a policy profile for Hawaii based on an analysis of data and policies related to college completion and workforce development.

Hawaii Policy Profile

The Hawaii legislature has created the foundation for an integrated P-20 system that can meet many of the challenges it faces as it seeks to spur economic growth through increased college attainment. Existing policies that address postsecondary access and affordability, college and career preparation, and workforce development provide a sound foundation for meeting state goals. However, to more effectively meet workforce and economic development challenges, the legislature should consider the following actions:

  1. Evaluate current policies by measuring the extent to which they increase college attainment in high-demand fields and close equity gaps between whites and Native Hawaiians
  2. Examine how policies and strategies focused on college affordability, college preparation and workforce development can be aligned to increase postsecondary productivity
  3. Examine how student financial aid can contribute to state degree completion and workforce goals.

News & Updates

  • Hawaii Community Colleges to Receive $25 Million in Federal Grants

Policy Leaders



Rep. Scott Nishimoto Chair, House Higher Education Committee





Sen. Jill N. Tokuda, Chair, Education Committee




Hawaii is participating in the following national initiatives that are related to college completion and workforce development: Achieving the Dream(ATD)

Common Core Standards Initiative

Complete College America(CCA)

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium

Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program(TAACCCT)

WICHE Longitudinal Data Exchange


The following resources were produced by Boosting College Completion, state agencies and postsecondary systems.

Hawaii Data Profile

Hawaii Data PowerPoint

Hawaii Policy Profile

University of Hawaii System Strategic Outcomes and Performance Measures

Print Friendly

Bad Behavior has blocked 1180 access attempts in the last 7 days.

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: